Wichita Falls prepared for stage one of drought plan

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 12:43 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Every day without rain, the City of Wichita Falls gets closer to entering stage one of its drought plan. The combined lake levels of the city’s water source currently sit at 65.6%, with the threshold being 65%.

The city has everything ready to go if we do enter stage one, but they don’t want the community to panic. Officials said they have learned a lot from the last drought and have implemented programs that have helped with conservation. All they ask now is for residents to control what they can.

“You want to conserve as much water as you can so we can make what water we have now last as long as possible,” Chris Horgen, public information officer for the City of Wichita Falls, said. “That is the goal. We can’t control the rain, we can’t control the temperature. All we can control is how much water we use.”

The City of Wichita Falls is less than one percent away from entering stage one of their drought plan. With cooler weather and less need for water use, officials said this is the best timeframe if we were to enter it.

“Going into a stage one drought during the winter is probably the best time to be triggering part of your drought plan,” Daniel Nix, Utilities Operations Manager for the City of Wichita Falls, said. “You have the lower evaporation. You have the lower usage from the citizens and we are not irrigating, which is the big demand in the summer.”

The city has learned a lot from the last drought a decade ago. They have made changes and implemented programs to be better prepared this time around.

“We didn’t trigger until we got to 60%,” Nix said. “In the last drought, the water resource commission recommended to the city council that we bump that up to 65%, give us five more percent to make an effort, a change in how much we are taking out of the lakes.”

“The indirect potable reuse pipe that runs from the river road wastewater treatment plant, we have dumped billions of gallons back into the lake,” Horgen said. “That is going to continue, we are not cutting that off. It is going to continue to pump millions of gallons a day back into Lake Arrowhead, which is going to prolong any major hit on the lakes since we are in the winter.”

Horgen said the citizens have learned a lot from the last drought too and many still apply conservation measures every day.

“I think a lot of people developed habits from the last drought,” Horgen said. “I know when I brush my teeth, I still turn the water off. A lot of people have those big rain gathering containers that they use for their yard. They hook them up to their gutters and have those great big barrels that collect all that water. A lot of people are still using that to water their plants or wash their car with.”

The latest prediction from city officials shows they anticipate that we will enter stage one of the drought plan by Dec. 5.